Girl Next Door: Tour This Animal Philanthropist's Chic Brooklyn Pad

Here at R29, we're suckers when it comes to dogs, cats, or anything on four legs, really. So, Bethany Obrecht, the former artist and brains behind Found My Animal, a company who's mission is to raise awareness for rescue animals, is basically our soul sister. She's dedicated her time to raising awareness (and $$!) for needy animals, and uses her creative skills to create leashes and other accessories for adopted dogs. To top it off, this philanthropist's got style in spades. She took time out of her busy schedule (did we mention she's also a new mom?) to show us around her brownstone digs and fill us in on her amazing work. Click through to check out her interview, marvel at her awesome design skills, and prepare for some serious doggy fever.
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How did you decide to start Found My Animal?
"We call it 'When Walter met Walter.' I was walking my rescue chihuahua, Walter, on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, when I ran into Anna Conway walking her rescue chihuahua, Walter (seriously). We struck up a conversation and found we had more in common than just our goofy little dogs and their old man names. We were both looking for some meaningful way to bring our art and design interests to the world of animal rescue. Anna's a painter from Cooper Union, and I studied photo at RISD. Now, we sell dog leashes. Who would have thought?"
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How do you manage to separate work and your personal life, when your work is so personal?
"What can I say ... it's chaotic."
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What about balancing your work with being a mom?
"Definitely chaotic."
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Do you find it hard to resist adopting every needy animal you come across?
"Just before my son, Charlie, was born, we had six dogs and one cat in our brownstone in Bed Stuy. It was a constant in and out of dogs that needed permanent homes. I do what I can, but now with a baby, it's hard to foster full-time."
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What is your favorite product that you sell on the website?
"I absolutely love our new adjustable orange Rescue Leash. We designed this leash especially for adopted animals. Orange is the official color of animal protection awareness — it's vibrant and perfect, in my opinion."
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(Wo)man's best friend hangs out on the stoop in Brooklyn.
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How do the dogs you do keep get along with the new baby?
"It was really hard the first few months, because they missed my constant attention. Now that Charlie is eating real foods, he has also learned to share and has become their best friend."
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What is the most rewarding part of your work with rescue foundations?
"The most rewarding part of rescue is seeing a lost dog become found. Rescue groups save hundreds of thousands of lost dogs from kill shelters each year. These groups rely on a network of volunteer foster parents to help house lost dogs and find them forever homes. New owners share a common experience when they rescue their pets. We receive hundreds of pictures and stories posted to our website. This is the most rewarding part."
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What's the secret to keeping your home so clean and gorgeous, with a baby and two dogs?
"I vacuum a lot! I live by my Miele vacuum cleaner..."
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What is the key to a good leash?
"Good design, durability, and beauty."
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Leash supplies in Bethany's home workshop.
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We love your in-home office/studio! How do you keep it in tip-top shape?
"Uline, the Container Store, and neat receipts!"
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Bethany hard at work in her studio.
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The supplies are endless.
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Do you have any favorite baby stores or designers?
"Makie, Baby Gap is a go-to, and hand-me-downs."
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Taking care of a dog can be tricky in NYC — do you have any advice for new owners in the city?
"New Yorkers are notorious multi-taskers. Found My Animal's adjustable leashes allow you to walk your dog while checking your phone, carrying a coffee, and cussing out a cab driver."
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What are some of your favorite designers and places to shop in NYC?
"Spending time with my friends and family is my biggest inspiration. Check out ROYGBIV, Rich Brilliant Willing, and Miles-Miles."
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